Skully AR-1 Heads-Up Display Helmet Now Available for Pre-order


— Update as of 9/16/2014: Skully’s Indiegogo campaign is up to $1,978,286 —

On 8/11/2014 at 6:00 A.M. Pacific time (today), the Skully Helmets AR-1 Augmented Reality Motorcycle Helmet began accepting pre-orders through the Indiegogo crowd funding platform (see my preview post). As of the publishing of this post, Skully has raised $683,523 of their $250,000 goal. Not bad for only being a few hours into the campaign. This goes to show how much pent up demand there is by motorcyclists for advanced helmet systems that are designed to enhance their rides and make them safer.

Skully Indiegogo

With the launch of pre-orders, the question is finally answered of how much the AR-1 is going to cost. Although the Indiegogo campaign presents a number of different “perks” that allow the earliest of adopters to pre-order the helmet at a discount, the perk called “Rebel Early Adopter” is priced at $1,399 and is labeled “save $100.” So that infers that the retail price of the helmet will be $1,499.

Skully AR-1 PricingFor those of you not familiar with crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo and Kickstarter, people with ideas for products and services seek funding for their projects from people who typically trade use of their money for some months ahead of time for a discount on the product. The beauty of this is that companies with unique ideas who may have had trouble finding finding, or who are loathe to give away large percentages of their companies to investors, can seek funding directly from the people who are most passionate about seeing their product or service come to market. I think of it like California’s initiative system, where if enough of the voters are passionate about a subject, they can pass it into law without the need for the California legislature. It is the highest form of merit-based innovation. I have backed a number of projects and have received great new products as a result. I also very much like supporting the entrepreneurial spirit with my dollars whether or not I pony up for the full product price.

AR-1-Delivery-Date

Another question was answered today, when the AR-1 will be available. The estimated delivery date is May 2015. Which brings me to the thought of why it is a good idea to “lend” Skully $1,399 by participating in the crowd funding program and have to wait until May 2015 to receive their AR-1. By doing that, funders are giving the middle finger to all of the helmet manufacturers who have not innovated themselves over the past years, choosing rather to invest in new styles, colors and incremental improvements. They are also telling the investors who did not pour money into Skully that we want this product so much we are willing to fund its development.

I had a comment on another Skully post that wondered if something newer or better would come along before the AR-1s became available and whether this was a risk he should consider before funding the Skully campaign. My belief is that as for something newer and better coming along before May 2015, don’t count on it. Helmet manufacturers have had the opportunity to do something interesting for years and have not made the investment to do so. Also, I would surmise that the helmet manufacturers suffer from “hardware-think” and they don’t have the vision, let alone the talent, to pursue development of a software platform that is delivered via a heads-up display. What Skully did was look at this product as a software platform in a helmet, much as Tesla looks as their cars as computers that happen to have wheels. Skully partnered with an ODM (original design manufacturer) of helmets who is already making over 1 million helmets a year. So they can lean on the expertise of the manufacturer for all of the base-function hardware and tend to the software platform themselves, which is where the real innovation with the AR-1 is happening anyway.
Lastly, don’t forget that by funding Skully’s campaign it prevents them from needing to give away large percentages of their company to outside investors. And, by paying them near the retail price, a huge chunk doesn’t have to go to resellers, both online and in stores. This allows all of the money to pay salaries of the Skully developers and other team members who are directly responsible for bringing this revolutionary product to market. As Skully calls it, this is Rebel Innovation. And that, my friends, is a noble cause. : )
Skully Beta Meeting - © 2014 Peter Radsliff

 

 

 

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